Australians will not be fooled by the sneaky and slippery politics being played by the Liberals as they try to hide their unfair and unnecessary policy of $100,000 university degrees.

No glossy discussion paper will be able to hide the fact that the Liberals’ ideological pursuit for deregulation is written into the budget papers and is Malcom Turnbull’s policy.

“I think it is fair for students to make a greater contribution.”

Malcolm Turnbull, Sunrise, Channel Seven, 4 May 2016

Simon Birmingham must come clean and admit that no matter the permutation, misinformation or “consultation” the Liberals’ plans involve massive cuts to university funding and students paying much, much more.

This sham of a discussion paper is an attempt to distract Australians from the Liberals’ real 2016 election policy, which will lead to $100,000 degrees and lock more Australians out of a university education.

The figures in the Budget make it clear that the Liberals plan to:

  • Cut university funding by 20 per cent;

  • Slug students with $100,000 degrees;

  • Create a two-tiered university system that will see students paying more;

  • Americanise higher education at taxpayer expense;

  • Lower the HECS HELP repayment threshold which will see students repaying their debt well before they can afford to do so; and

  • Deny Australians access to financial support to go to university if they are not in the workforce or retired.  

This Budget makes it very clear that the Abbott-Turnbull Liberals are hell-bent on making it harder for Australian battlers to get the opportunity of a university education. 

The difference between Labor and Liberal could not be starker - we'll put people first, while the 2016 Budget has shown Mr Turnbull and the Liberals will look after high-income earners and see Australian students pay more.


Labor's positive plan will:

  1. Introduce a new Student Funding Guarantee, which will deliver $2,500 more per student than the Liberals, and remove the need for higher fees and a lifetime of debt.

  2. Increase the number of students completing their study by 20,000 graduates a year from 2020.

  3. Invest $31 million in Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency to boost the quality of teaching and resources in our universities.

  4. Establish an independent Higher Education Productivity and Performance Commission to ensure graduates meet the needs of the future economy.

  5. Offer a Startup Year at university to young Australians looking to start their own enterprise.

  6. Boost the number of young Australians taking up STEM courses at university as well as offering 25,000 Teach STEM Scholarships and upskilling 25,000 teachers.

  7. Introduce a Higher Education Access and Growth Strategy to improve outcomes for low income students, students from rural and regional areas, Indigenous students and first generation migrants, students with disabilities and other disadvantage students.

  8. Deliver more information for parents and students so they can make good decisions about university.

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